After the usual media orgy of articles and opinions about “Earth Day”, it’s a good idea to ask how much environmentalism actually costs us. I will keep this to a question of dollars, but the real cost has been in millions of lives around a world where the benefits of modernization would have save those lives.
It is mind-boggling the billions of US taxpayer dollars that are squandered annually in the name of “protecting the environment.” Nor are these millions and billions devoted to just the US environment. They are just as often given way to foreign nations, many of which have a track record of corruption.
I was thinking about this as I read a speech given in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 2 by John F. Turner, an Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs. The title of his speech was “Uncle Sam: An Environmentalist.” Who can argue with that? Easily a third or more of all federal laws and regulations are devoted to the environment. This was accomplished in a relatively short time since the first Earth Day in 1970. And it began when a Republican President, Richard M. Nixon, signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and arguably one of the worst pieces of environmental legislation, the Endangered Species Act.
Turner proudly told his colleagues in Stockholm that the federal government owns lots and lots of the American landmass, citing the 84.5 million acres of our national park system and the 460 million acres that the government manages as wildlife reserves, refuges, wilderness areas, and marine sanctuaries. Americans who live in the West know well how much land the US owns, but most Americans remain unaware of the relentless efforts of the federal government, using taxpayer dollars, to provide funds to the States to purchase more and more private property
The US government is engaged in one of the biggest land grabs in history and they are doing it in collusion with a matrix of so-called environmental and conservation non-government organizations. They are doing it using your money! If successful, there will be fewer and fewer places for people to live, create new businesses, ranch, farm, or use our natural resources in any fashion, i.e. mine it, drill for it, or log it.
This is what the Greens call “sustainable development.” If they were honest about it—which they never are—they should call it “no development.”
What makes the Bush administration’s environmental programs so bizarre are the millions being spent on projects such as the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. “The United States will contribute $53 million over four years to create the training programs, infrastructure, and management and enforcement regimes necessary to make the vision of a system of protected areas a success,” said Turner. He bragged that, “In total, we have the potential of developing as many as 27 national parks and protecting more than 10 million hectares.” In the African Congo!
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The US, noted Turner, will let some countries reduce their debt by agreeing to “protect valuable tropical forests.” Peru, for example, won’t have to pay what it owes us in return for preserving 12.5 million hectares of rain forest. What Turner doesn’t mention is that logging is one of the ways Peruvians have of making a living and depriving them of that, much as was done to many American logging communities in our Northwestern States, will destroy an important element of that nation’s economy.
It was a long speech filled with similar examples where American tax dollars either are paid out or foreign debt to us is just written off in the name of saving the environment. And you wonder why this nation has a huge deficit? Money that should be used to support our military or returned to the States to build highways, renovate old schools, fix up local parks and recreation areas, fix sewage systems, and so much more is going to the Congo and who knows where else!
I can’t, however, leave go of Turner’s speech without noting his view of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Control, otherwise known as the global warming treaty. Mind you, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution rejecting it. Clinton never even submitted it for consideration, and Bush let it be known it was “seriously flawed” in terms of its bogus science.
But John F. Turner of the US Department of State told his audience that “We remain active in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and support its ultimate goal: the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate.” NO, WE DO NOT! That is not the policy of the United States unless Turner knows something that the Congress and White House does not.
And, apparently he does. Turner noted “the United States has cemented 13 formal bilateral relationships with both developed and developing nation to address climate change.”
And here’s the kicker! “What’s more, the US spends $1.7 billion annually on climate science and related science, more than the rest of the world combined.” It gets worse! “Over the next five years, the United States has pledged $1.7 billion to develop clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.” That’s billion with a “B” for an automobile that nobody wants, nor needs.
The waste of tax dollars in the name of the environment is beyond comprehension, but it illustrates just how totally infiltrated the federal government is with both legislators and civil servants who feel free to ignore the best interests of Americans. In the process, they are destroying the key element of our economy, private property, and, in the name of “sustainable development”, seeking to thwart every manner of development.